Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Searching for a fast and simple way to take your medical marijuana? Instead of trying to choose among many delivery methods, which can get confusing or overwhelming, consider consuming your medical marijuana like any other medication — as a pill. You take a pill with a glass of water or other non-alcoholic beverage.
The traditional method of consuming marijuana is by smoking the flowers or leaves of the cannabis plant, either via a joint or bong. But, you can take medical cannabis in oral capsule form, which eliminates respiratory side effects of smoking. You can experience some drawbacks with smoking because, although it’s not tobacco, you’re still inhaling smoke, which puts you at risk of lung-related conditions, like bronchitis or cancer.
Marijuana pills make a great alternative and still have all the benefits of cannabis without the downsides of smoking. Not to mention, you know what you’re getting with weed tablets so you can dose more precisely.
Marijuana capsules are one of the many options available in the medical marijuana market. They’re ideal for patients who are looking for discretion and don’t want to consume marijuana through smoking or vaping. Marijuana pills and supplements still contain cannabinoids, the active compounds in marijuana, so you’ll still feel the effects.
These capsule products come in different varieties and potencies, depending on their licensed manufacturers. Also, producers are selling decarboxylated cannabis you can use for making your own capsules and oil-based capsules.
Immediate-release tablets work like edibles. You take them orally, and your stomach absorbs them. Your liver then metabolizes the absorbed compounds. Each person’s metabolizing mechanism will be unique, which is why pills and edibles have different effects on different individuals. The whole process could take up to three hours or as little as 45 minutes.
Time-release oral capsules follow the same digestion path, but their content delivery may be drawn out or delayed over a period. However, this depends on the constituent ingredients of the capsule. Capsule shells made with liposomes and drug-polymer conjugates like hydrogels make contents time-released. Time-release capsules use their inert and protective ingredients to neutralize the acid of the stomach for slower release methods.
Essentially, the cannabis genus has two main plant types — cannabinoid-rich plants commonly referred to as marijuana and hemp plants. Breeders grow cannabinoid-rich plants for their large range of cannabinoids and other beneficial medicinal compounds, whereas hemp lacks robust cannabinoid and terpenoid spectrums and is grown for seed oil and fiber. Both marijuana and industrial hemp are used in marijuana capsules.
There are many benefits of medical marijuana pills and supplements. Pot pills are popular, unsurprisingly, with individuals who were once heavy smokers and don’t want to damage their lungs any further or who have a history of respiratory issues, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.
Individuals who never smoked but are still protective over their health may prefer cannabis capsules. Marijuana pills are also ideal for vulnerable individuals like pregnant women and children.
There are several types of medical marijuana pills and supplements. They include:
Anything you can treat with marijuana edibles or flowers, you can treat with oral marijuana tablets, in a more regulated, safer way. Choose low-dose THC pills for relief without an excess of psychoactive effects for conditions such as:
CBD doses can help manage:
THC can address the symptoms of hypertension and diabetes, such as appetite loss and stress. You could also benefit from the mood-improving and antimicrobial properties.
You should always work with your qualified marijuana doctor to discuss the appropriate dosage for your medical condition.
With THC and CBD pills, you get many amazing benefits that you don’t get by smoking cannabis.
First, the oral tablets provide you with far more control about the amount of THC and CBD you put into your body since the packet will clarify the dose. You may find a little variation, but you’re going to know much more about the dose by taking the pot pills than if you were just to smoke the herb. Your dosage is reliable and consistent.
If you’ve ever smoked weed, you most likely have already experienced the pungent odor. Weed supplements don’t smell. Not everybody wants the scent of marijuana in their house, both for personal preference and social reasons.
Smoking doesn’t just impact your health — it can also impact others around you. Second-hand smoke is dangerous whether it comes from marijuana or cigarettes, especially for children. Smoke affects your possessions as well, leaving a strong smell that can be difficult to get rid of. It can also cause fabrics in the home to have a yellow tinge.
But for some individuals, smoking marijuana can harm them more than benefit them. For instance, if you suffer from asthma or have other breathing problems, you may be solving one problem when you smoke cannabis, but you’re creating another one by agitating your lungs.
Children, understandably, shouldn’t smoke marijuana since their lungs are still developing. Therefore, weed pills offer an alternative medicine solution for children without them having to deal with consequences from smoke.
Older individuals who are accustomed to taking their medications in the form of oral pills may find cannabis supplements a natural way to use the herb.
Cannabis capsules work like edibles, but without all the extra calories that, say, marijuana brownies provide.
Marijuana contains a lot of cannabinoids, but the ones that we’re interested in the most medically are CBD and THC. THC is the most popular substance in marijuana since it is the primary psychoactive agent. It causes a dopamine release in your brain, which causes that euphoria or high state. THC does have some side effects, so you should consult with your doctor before you decide to medicate yourself with marijuana.
However, CBD is a cannabinoid that’s not psychoactive and offers many of the same benefits as THC without causing you to be high or confused. It has a few insignificant side effects and is legal in all states.
Both CBD and THC offer you:
Marijuana oil pills can treat some of the symptoms of asthma, cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and other conditions. Even though studies have shown positive results in mice with cancer, human studies are still underway.
The side effects of medical marijuana pills and supplements you may experience will depend on the type of medical weed pill you’re taking. If you’re taking CBD pills, then you’ll likely have little to no side effects. You should have no problems combining CBD with other medicines that you’re already taking, but you’ll want to consult with your doctor first.
THC can cause some side effects if you’re not careful, so you’ll want to use THC pills responsibly. The psychoactive properties in THC cause side effects like:
These side effects aren’t too worrisome and usually wear off quickly. THC supplements can be a bit potent, so you’ll want to know the exact dosages of what you’re taking.
General side effects of marijuana are dry eyes and dry mouth. It can also cause hunger — or better known as getting the “munchies.” Depending on the strain you take, you could experience giddiness, drowsiness or impaired judgment.
If you’re worried about discretion, medical marijuana oral capsules allow you to medicate anywhere you are, with no concern about smoke, vapor or smell.
When you first start out using medical pot supplements, it’s best to start off low and go slow. Similar to cannabis oils, the tablets also differ in potency and the producer or dispensary your using might carry a few varieties of pills with different strengths. It’s also a good idea to take cannabis capsules with food.
You should consider if the product is CBD-dominant, THC-dominant or a mixture of both when buying cannabis pills, as well as each cannabinoid’s potency amount in each tablet.
Before you start taking THC tablets, you should know a little something about what’s inside them and why they’re a better delivery method than others.
THC is marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient and is what makes you feel high or euphoric. It exists as non-psychoactive THCA in raw cannabis plants. This doesn’t get you high until you decarboxylate it by adding heat. Because there’s debate about THC supplements, deciding on the proper THC pill can be a little overwhelming if you’re new to medical marijuana.
Dronabinol is an active artificial ingredient similar to THC in the prescription drug Marinol, which doctors often prescribe to AIDS patients for nausea, pain and weight loss. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Marinol in 1985 as a treatment for patients with cancer experiencing nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy.
Marinol can produce a high that takes effect slower than THC but lasts longer. It’s not always the best alternative, however.
You should strictly follow your doctor’s dosage protocols when taking Marinol. The one cannabinoid that can be legally marketed in the U.S. is actually available only in capsule form.
You can take marijuana capsules like any other type of tablet. When it comes to edibles, even if you measure carefully, you just can’t be sure how much CBD or THC you’re getting, but one pill will contain the exact dose it says on the bottle. Individuals new to medical cannabis should start off with one pill and work their way up to higher doses gradually, not exceeding what it says on the bottle.
Cannabis oral supplements take a little time to kick in. Because you swallow them, they’re not as fast to take effect as tinctures or vaporizers. It could take a half hour or longer depending on your stomach contents to enter your bloodstream once the outer shell of the capsule dissolves.
You take a tablet with water or other non-alcoholic beverage, just like any other pill.
You should store your weed supplements in a dry place away from a lot of moisture and heat, or you can freeze them. This will make them simpler to cut in half if you decided you only wanted a half dose, particularly if you’re new to medical marijuana or if you’re taking THC pills and are worried about feeling too much of the “high” effects THC produces.
Be sure you use all THC or CBD products as directed and under your doctor’s advice. Read all warning labels carefully.
It is possible to make your own marijuana capsules. You first decide which strain will likely have the proper amount of CBD and THC to help ease your symptoms. It’s best to go with a low-THC and high-CBD strain at first.
Bake your strain’s cannabis flowers. Place approximately 5.5 to 7 grams of marijuana on an oven-safe dish, such as a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes at 225 degrees F. Then ground the baked cannabis into a fine powder and add coconut oil to it. You need about one tablespoon of oil for every seven grams of cannabis. The more oil you add, the less potent the pills will be. Less oil means more potency.
The next step is to heat the mixture for three to six hours in a slow cooker. Finally, place the oil in the large end of the capsules and seal.
Once you dry off the capsules, you can consume them. Refrigerate them to make them last longer.
Before buying any medical marijuana pills and supplements, make sure medical cannabis is legal in your state. You can check your state laws here. Then you’ll want to get a recommendation from a qualified cannabis doctor who can help you get started with medical cannabis pills or other types of cannabis treatment. Find a certified marijuana doctor and recommended dispensaries here at MarijuanaDoctors.com.